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Roger, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 30910
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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What is the quickest route to get a construction defects case

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What is the quickest route to get a construction defects case resolved when the general contractor (company no longer in buisness - dissolved) did not build to minimum contruction standards per Georgia law and the chief county inspector revoked the certificate of occupancy on the house? I have been dealing with the lawsuit filed by the contractor for more than 3 years, and the attorney hired is not getting me any closer to a resolution after paying over $20,000 on legal fees and over $100,000 in repairs to prevent further damage to the structure (examples include load bearing walls not supported on footers, water intrusion in basement, exterior walls improperly contructed, overloaded floor trusses, no smoke detectors inside bedrooms, and etc.). Please advise.
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Real Estate litigation attorney, and I specialize in construction litigation. Thanks for your question, but I'm sorry for your troubles and frustration with this.

As an initial matter, some very complicated construction cases (usually commercial properties) can take years to litigate. But, most cases can be resolved within a year - - usually be either mediation or arbitration (which are alternative dispute resolution procedures). If you have not mediated your case, that's likely the fastest way to get things toward resolution - - and it's also generally much cheaper.

Also, most judges will not set a case for trial until mediation is tried, so maybe you can consult your attorney about filing a motion to compel mediation. Just in case you don't know, mediation is NON-BINDING settlement talks with a third party mediator (usually a lawyer) where each party presents his/her case and the mediator tries to identify weaknesses in each parties' cases and try to work with the parties to reach a compromise. If you can't agree, then all parties just walk away.

Arbitration is binding and is an option to allow an arbitrator - - instead of a judge - - decide the matter. Arbitration is binding and is final once the arbitrator makes a decision. It's basically a trial outside of the normal court setting. You can't compel arbitration unless there's a contract provision that requires it. So, arbitration is usually only by agreement of all parties.

If mediation and arbitration are not possible, the next best thing is to file a motion for a scheduling order and ask the judge to set deadlines and a trial date that you can work toward. In a case this old, the judge would likely set a trial date pretty soon - - within the next 6-9 months - - since there should not be much procedural matters, discovery, etc. left.

The judge will hold the lawyers' feet to the fire and get the matter to trial IF you can't/don't settle through mediation or agree to go to arbitration.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you...not sure if this question got missed somehow. The attorney stated the request for mediation/arbitration was refused or ignored by the opposing side. Stated she would proceed with summary judgement with an estimation of at least 40 hours for research and generation. However, the opposing side is not cooperative and very combative. Therefore, are there any advantages going with the summary judgement verses the triall? I need the case resoved quickly because I can not purchase housing after relocation to the state of Washington.

If you file a motion for a scheduling order, the judge can ORDER the parties to submit to mediation, which would be a lot cheaper than paying for 40 hours of work - - which also sounds ridiculous for a motion for summary judgment. It should take 1/4 of that time to prepare a motion for summary judgment.

That's where I would start. If mediation fails, then summary judgment could be attempted. The problem with summary judgment is that they are VERY hard to win - - a party must prove that there is no genuine issue of material fact to be decided by the court, and that you are entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. It is VERY hard to prove that there's no issue that needs to be argued.

A motion for summary judgment IS NOT a substitute for trial as it's very unlikely that the motion will resolve all issues and you'll still have to try the case.
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